Peaches' heroin 'secrets', Commonwealth Games opening and MH17 'dignity'
- 24 July 2014
The circumstances surrounding the death of Peaches Geldof are splashed across several front pages.
An inquest revealed what the Sun describes as the TV presenter's "heroin secrets" in concluding that she died as a result of an overdose of the drug. The Metro and Daily Mirror both highlight the fact the 25-year-old's youngest son - aged 11 months at the time - might have been alone for up to 17 hours before her body was discovered.
As the Daily Star puts it, Geldof "hid her heroin in a sweetie box... like her mum who kept drugs in a Smarties tube". The inquest+-*/ had heard that the syringe which administered the fatal dose was found in a box of sweets at her bedside. Her overdose was "10 times bigger" than the one which killed her mother, Paula Yates, when Peaches was 11, in 2000, the Daily Mail notes.
The Sun uses graphics to show the scene at her family home in Kent and runs through the "timeline to [the] tragedy" of Geldof's body being discovered. However, explaining that "her second marriage to Thomas Cohen, a musician, appeared to have tempered her reputation for wild partying," the Independent's Paul Peachey writes that her final weekend had been "remarkable only for its mundane domesticity" until she injected herself with a fatal dose.
The Daily Mirror hopes for something good to follow Geldof's death, arguing: "Far too many families are still blighted by the evils of addiction. There are no easy solutions but a greater emphasis on education and more funding for treatment programmes would be a step forward."
Fun and Games
Pictures from the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games feature on many front pages and inside spreads, while sports writers and critics give their interpretation of events.
The Times, which produces a souvenir wraparound cover in celebration of the event, describes a "two-hour extravaganza of dance and music, fronted by Scots stars including Rod Stewart, Billy Connolly, Susan Boyle and the violinist Nicola Benedetti" and awards "gold to Glasgow" for the effort. Likewise, the Telegraph declares Glasgow "the first winner of the Games" for a show "rich in humour, jollity and self-deprecation". Its writer Jim White compared it to "a raucous night out in Scotland's largest city... boisterous, chaotic and went on rather longer than anyone was anticipating".
The Guardian's Esther Addley writes: "Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, had promised the ceremony would 'show the world the very best of Scotland', and on that count it amply delivered, so long as your definition of the country's greatest output includes pipers, dancing Tunnock's teacakes, Scottie dogs and Susan Boyle singing Mull of Kintyre."
For the Independent's Jonathan Brown, the ceremony "followed many of the paths... so idiosyncratically blazed" by the London 2012 opening ceremony supremo Danny Boyle, albeit on a much lower budget: "From the moment the giant kilt lifted to reveal pantomime star John Barrowman, it was clear that the wit as well as the famous wisdom of the Scots would be showcased here."
The Mail's Robert Hardman watched Scots enjoy a "well-deserved" break from the pre-referendum debate about what it means to be Scottish and concluded: "As the fireworks lit up the night sky above a tearful Celtic Park, every Scot - from frothing separatist to sepia-tinted defender of the union - could go home feeling proud and emboldened."
Not everyone was quite so keen, however. The Sun's Matt Bendoris writes: "There was a huge haggis, whisky barrels, the Loch Ness monster and a Forth Rail Bridge held up by massive Irn Bru cans. After that lot you wished the organisers had stuck to the original plan of blowing up Glasgow's Red Road Flats — preferably with Barrowman inside."
However, forget the "hammering" that parts of the show took on social media for its homage to stereotypes, says the Mirror's Oliver Holt. "At the end of it all, it was still a stunning night," he says, suggesting that it was an occasion when the "magic" that left with the closing ceremony of London's 2012 Olympics returned to UK shores.
'Dignity at last'
Many correspondents reporting from the Netherlands, where the bodies of 40 of the 298 victims from the stricken Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have arrived, use similar language.
"Dignity at last," is a phrase used by the headlines of the Daily Express, Star and the Mirror, as they describe respectful scenes at Eindhoven military airport. According to the Telegraph's Harriet Alexander: "Out of the carnage, chaos and unspeakable horror finally came a moment of calm... Finally, the victims of this awful tragedy were coming home."
"As the first coffin was lowered from the planes on the runway, silence fell," writes the Guardian's Philip Oltermann. "The only sound came from a row of flags whipping in the wind at half mast." The Daily Mail describes how the Dutch Queen Maxima "was moved to tears" and "broke down several times" during a sombre ceremony.
"None of the relatives knew which of the 298 victims were returned to The Netherlands yesterday. So it was a shared, collective grief as the heartbroken families struggled to cope with their loss," writes Andy Lines in the Mirror.
As hearses drove the coffins away for identification, "traffic stopped, bells tolled and crowds stood in silence" along the route, writes Charles Bremner in the Times.
The presence of a crowdfunded novel on the longlist of the Man Booker prize makes headlines, with the Independent quoting The Wake's author Paul Kingsnorth saying: "Its publication was a collaboration between its readers, [crowdfunding publisher] Unbound and me, the author. That's special."
But much of the focus is on a change in the rules that allowed American writers to compete for the first time and resulted in four US novels making the list. Still, British authors prevailed, reports the Financial Times, accounting for six of the 13 titles.
Times literary editor Robbie Millen writes that "the British literati just about held their corner" but reckons the reason many readers think American writers superior is that "they are not frightened to be intellectually self-confident - or, if one is uncharitable, show off like mad".
Noting that no African or Asian writers had work longlisted, the Telegraph's Sameer Rahim writes: "It would be a shame if, in opening up the prize, it ends up excluding voices from outside the Anglo-American centre."
Justine Jordan, in the Guardian, agrees that the prize has "opened up to the world - and to some, the publishing world looked a little narrower". She adds: "The other much-debated rule change, whereby past success increases the number of books a publisher may submit, can only push the prize towards the establishment."
The Times's editorial proposes a solution. "It would be unfortunate if the unpredictable were eliminated from this premier literary prize. One way of injecting that element would be for the judges to look more closely and favourably at genre fiction." It suggests the detective stories of PD James, John Le Carre's "Conradian world of intrigue", or Robert Harris's "masterful" recreations of historical epochs would be worthy contenders.
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